Christmas at Grey Sage
By Phyllis Clark Nichols
Gilead Publishing, 2017
This Christmas, there's plenty of room at the inn.
Nestled in the snow-covered Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Santa Fe, the Grey Sage Inn looks like the perfect place for weary travelers to escape the craziness of the Christmas season. There's plenty to see in historic Santa Fe during the day, and the inn's owners, Maude and Silas Thornhill, are happy to spend their evenings hosting this year's guests from across the country.
But an unusual snowstorm throws a wrench in the festive mood. The sprawling inn becomes close quarters as stranded guests discover this Christmas won't be the relaxed vacation they expected. Tension and fear mount as the storm worsens, and Silas, a retired doctor, is called away in the middle of the night to care for a neighbor. The snow and stress unlocks tongues-and in the unexpected conversation that follows, secrets and pasts are revealed, and hearts are healed.
In the midst of snowdrifts and fireside conversations, of tales of days gone by, the warmth of Christmas brings a renewed hope as these trapped strangers become friends-proof again that the joy, hope, peace, and love of Christmas can be experienced no matter where you are.
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Christmas at Grey Sage is a charming story that I could read over and over again … a classic that captures the essence of all that Christmas should be … a gem. It’s about hospitality, caring, sacrifice, giving – and finding that you received more than you could ever give away. The story is character driven, not fast paced, and therein lies its beauty.
When Maude opened the door to the Christmas closet
in early December that year, she had no reason
to think there would only be nine more
Christmases celebrated at Grey Sage.
The story opens in 1973, then jumps ahead to 2005, with Silas and Maude preparing to receive guests at their undecorated inn located in the foothills of New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains. This “Unlikely Christmas Party” consists of ten people of various ages, backgrounds, talents, and stages of life – the common denominator being their desire to be far from home at Christmas. But just as God interrupts our plans in life, this group found that things did not quite go as planned, and thus begins their real journey.
From the art shops on Canyon Road, to the luminaries lining the streets, the author does an incredible job of bringing the sights, sounds, and aroma of Santa Fe at Christmas to life – so much so that I would visit if the opportunity presented itself. Back at the inn after a day’s shopping, I felt like I was right there in the room during their “show and tell” recap, gaining a better understanding of each guest.
“If God could come to earth at Christmas and
make us his children, we can at least try
to make these strangers our friends.”
From its sober premise at the beginning, Christmas at Grey Sage becomes a story where surprises along life’s way are enjoyed, a story of hope that will inspire all who read it.
“Christmas is the time when strangers become friends.”
I was provided a copy of this book through Litfuse Publicity and Gilead Publishing. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Phyllis Clark Nichols believes everyone could use a little more hope and light. Her character-driven Southern fiction explores profound human questions from within the simple lives of small town communities you just know you've visited before. With a love for nature, art, faith and ordinary people, she tells redemptive tales of loss and recovery, estrangement and connection, longing and fulfillment, often through surprisingly serendipitous events.
Phyllis grew up in the deep shade of magnolia trees in South Georgia. Now she lives in the Texas Hill Country with her portrait-artist husband, where red birds and axis deer are her ever-ravenous neighbors. She is an English major and classically-trained musician, seminary graduate, concert artist and co-founder of a national cable network for the health and disability-related programming.
After retiring as a cable network executive, Phyllis began leading mission teams to orphanages in Guatemala and now serves on three non-profit boards where she works with others who are equally passionate about bringing hope and light to those who need it most.
Find out more about Phyllis at http://www.phyllisclarknichols.com.
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